Did you know there are many different ways to learn? In-fact most of us have a dominant learning style that directs the way that we absorb & remember information.
So, what’s the benefit of identifying your own learning style?
Well – once you’re aware of your personal learning preference you can take steps to ensure that you harness this to maximize not only how quickly you learn but also how enjoyable the process is for you. What many of us don’t realize is that we have struggled to learn for our entire lives not because we are stupid, but because we have been using a learning style that is not compatible with our preferred style!
Cast your mind back to the classroom. The quiet, focused kids sitting at the front of the class were always the ones that scored the points with the teacher right? While the fidgety, noisy ones at the back were labeled a ‘distraction’.
Were the quiet kids any more intelligent than the noisy ones? Unlikely. So what was the difference?
It boils down to different learning styles. The noisy, fidgety kids were probably kinesthetic/aural learners. This means they require movement and sound to learn. The quiet kids may have been solitary, visual learners hence their preference to sit close to the teacher or the black/whiteboard and to remain quiet.
The point is – there are no right or wrong answers – everyone’s different and there is no ONE RIGHT way to learn.
I myself am a highly visual learner, followed by a strong logical /solitary learning style. I need to ‘see’ what’s going on. I’m a compulsive note-taker because I find it difficult to remember aurally (by what I hear). I need to see an image representation! This sees me often drawing elaborate images in different colours when I take down notes because this aids my memory. At times, I also dislike brainstorms and group work because I find it much easier to work on my own, plus I find it easy to methodically follow a set structure (hence my background in strategy!)
My partner on the other hand is very clearly an aural / social learner. He never takes notes. EVER. And he frequently needs to have ‘discussions’ as part of his learning process.
What’s important here is that once you have identified your optimal personal learning process, you can double if not triple the amount you learn and make it a much more pleasant experience. There’s nothing worse than trying to learn using someone else’s style! (I get shivers at the thought of not taking notes and back-to-back brainstorms!)
Interestingly, your learning style will also often be present in your language. So very visual learners will often say things like “I see what you mean’ or ‘How does this look?’ compared to kinesthetic learners who may say action oriented things like “lets get this show on the road” or “lets get moving”.
Simple Life Strategy: Identifying Your Learning Style
Have a look at the seven options below. Notice which ones resonate the most with you and which ones make you cringe a bit! (these are likely to be learning styles that clash with yours). You may notice that one style really stands out to you as-well as a few others that resonate with you. This is likely to be your dominant learning style.
- You have a photographic memory (i.e. when you try and remember things you picture the exact placement of the words or image on the piece of paper)
- Colours will be important to you and will trigger your memories
- You may also be good at directions as visual learners have good spatial awareness
- You love drawing, scribbling and note taking (and are often interested in fashion/dress sense)
- You use visual language such as ‘I see what you mean / Can you picture this? / How does this look to you?
- You like to work with sound & music
- You rarely if ever take notes and are good at listening to what others say
- You are highly likely to be musical, play an instrument or sing
- You have an uncanny ability to remember songs
- You are often humming or tapping beats
- You use aural language such as ”That sounds right / you’re not listening to me / do you hear what I’m saying?”
- You are very active and enjoy sports
- You find it easy to think when exercising
- You often walk around while on the phone / or when thinking
- You find it hard to learn sitting still
- You may well use large hand gestures
- When learning a new skill you like to physically get involved (i.e. you prefer to pull things apart and put them back together, rather than reading or looking at diagrams about how they work)
- You use kinesthetic language such as “This feels right to me / I can’t get a grip on this / lets get moving”
- You love words – both written & spoken!
- You may like tongue twisters & playing with the meaning of words
- You have a big vocabulary and love to read & write
- You use verbal language such as ‘Take my word for it / Let me spell it out for you / In other words”
- You like to use Mnemonics to memorise things
- You enjoy using the logical side of your brain
- You don’t like disorganization or lack of preparation
- You love maths & find it easy to identify number patterns
- You can have a tendency to over-analyse
- You work through problems systematically and like to follow procedures
- You always use ‘to do’ lists and ranking systems to prioritise
- You love strategic games like chess & suduko
- You use language like “it’s so logical / prove it / there’s no process!”
- You love to communicate to others both written & orally
- People often come to you for advice
- Its crucial for you to bounce ideas off others
- You love group work & brainstorms over working on your own
- You love social activities rather than solitary hobbies
- You use social language like “let’s work together on this / lets have a meeting / we can work it out”
- You are private, introspective & independent
- You find it easy to focus & concentrate on tasks
- You’re self-aware & often analyse your own behavior
- You like to spend time alone & may write a journal
- You love to plan & set goals
- You use solitary language such as “I need time to think it over / I’ll get back to you on that / This is what I feel”
Know someone with one of these learning styles? Share this article with them to see if you’re right!
Image Source: myrevelment